Every life should have nine cats
It was a Hollywood scene but my movie:
my Honda stalled on the railroad tracks,
the train flying toward me.
A screech of brakes—forty yards
is forty miles is forty years.
I woke on a blanket beside the pool.
I imagine it now: my father diving,
his arm stretching toward me.
What did it mean? My aching lungs?
Those inscrutable ripples?
Snow, a country road, a 180° spin.
Winter pivoted & my car swarmed
with cold white butterflies:
I released the brake until the horizon
steadied, the air giddy with lilacs.
Helmetless, I tumbled head over handlebars
onto the gravel beside the road.
Barberries blurred & bleated,
a stray dog licked my face,
& I was saved by two barrettes & a ribbon.
A saucepan boiled for hours, a campfire
burned all night. I kissed a stranger on a bridge—
it’s a miracle, I tell you, I’m still dancing—
& a rebuilt Varsity Schwinn
is parked on the lawn, tires inflated.
Hidden in my flea market clutter,
in my bottles & vases & miniature houses,
are many deaths, & yet today
I plunge a hundred wildflowers
into the soup can on my kitchen table.